Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tips From a Recent Bride

About this time last year, I was neck deep in wedding planning. Actually, it was just around the first week in October last year that Zach and I decided to change our wedding date…to five months sooner.

Our original plan was to be married on May 17, 2014. A year long engagement. While we both love Christmas, and had wanted a Christmas wedding, we didn’t know if we could plan the wedding in seven months and save what we wanted, and we didn’t want over a year long engagement.

By the time October of last year rolled around, we had almost all of our details in place for the wedding, and things were rolling along. But we both kept talking about “oh wouldn’t it be nice to have a Christmas wedding though?” “Our venue would look so pretty at Christmas.” And then of course I can’t count how many times Zach suggested we just go to the courthouse and get married and start our lives together. I have to admit, I was tempted.

But, one fateful day in October, we decided that yes, we were going to have a Christmas wedding after all, and we were going to be married on December 15, 2013. Just over two months away.

Most people would be sent into a spiral of stress, but I actually thrive under that sort of pressure, and my mind was swirling with great DIY ideas. We re-ordered our invitations and I got to work on all our favors, bouquets, signs, boutonnieres, centerpieces, and addressing the envelopes. We did all the planning ourselves, and I definitely learned some great tricks along the way.

There are quite a few people that are newly engaged or about to be married, or will be engaged and married soon, so I thought I would pass on some of these tips to you!

DON’T STRESS. That is my biggest piece of life. Keep perspective. Yes, a wedding is a wonderful day and joyous event. But it is one day of your life. Don’t stress the little things, because you are about to start your life together with your best friend! Don’t sweat the small stuff!

Have a budget. Absolutely have a budget. Have it in your mind, and have it written on paper. When you tack the word “wedding” onto anything, the price tends to go sky high.

Shop around!  With that being said on specific “wedding” items, don’t be afraid to shop around! Get outside of the specific wedding aisles at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby and look around the store! Want a basket for your flower girl? You can probably find one just as cute in the kid section of the store….for a fraction of the price. Anything that is specifically marked as wedding is going to be a higher priced item. But the good news is you can find those items elsewhere, and for cheaper!

Don’t try to do it all. With Pinteest you can find yourself lost in a thousand great ideas and want them all incorporated at your wedding. Realistically, that’s just not possible. I’m sure someone could do it, but it might be disastrous and would probably cause you more of a headache than you need.

Ask your venue what they have! We saved a ton of money on centerpieces and decoration because the venue we used had a bunch of stuff they let us use for free! It never hurts to ask!

Take time off of wedding planning and talking about the wedding. Set aside a “wedding planning free zone” in your week. Whether it’s an hour, or a whole day, for your sanity and your future spouses, take the time to just be together and enjoy each other without talking about the guest list, the flowers, the cake, etc. etc. etc.

DIY projects. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend DIYing everything in your wedding, unless you really want to. We did a lot, but I love doing that kind of stuff and it doesn’t stress me out. Pick one or two things to “Do It Yourself.” You could do your own favors, or place cards or signs. Get your wedding party in on the fun and have them help you!

Do keep a folder with all of your important documents and information in it, and keep it in one place! Get your tuxedo confirmations in there, your important receipts and contracts, guest list, etc. in an accordion folder or a binder. This will help you know where everything is, and ensure that you have all you need in one go.

Prepare for MARRIAGE- you know, the whole reason for the wedding? So many people go into marriage without every really doing anything to prepare for it. We prepare so much for one day- for the wedding day. But it is just that- a day. Marriage is for the rest of your life. Invest some time into pre-marital counseling, or reading a book together, or learning something new together. You’re about to spend the rest of your life with this person, and it’s important to prepare for that life.

There you have just a few of the tips that I have from wedding planning. I could go on for a while I am sure. But I think really the biggest thing is to not stress.

Something will probably go wrong your wedding day most likely. My heel broke right before I left the room to walk down the aisle. The poor coordinator was more upset about it than I was. Honestly, at that point, I didn’t care what was on my feet, as long as I got to walk down that aisle and see Zach and marry that precious man, I was just fine.

Take a deep breath, enjoy the season of engagement, and remember that a wedding is just a decorated doorway into your whole life together.

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